Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating: An Intro

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By Jocelin Higgins

Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating- What is it?

What is it like floating in a sensory deprivation tank? Perhaps you are wondering what it’s all about and why people do it. Or, rather how does it benefit you?

Sensory Deprivation Tank

A woman floats in a sensory deprivation tank with the lid open. You  can float either way.

I became interested in floating in a sensory deprivation (otherwise known as reduction) tank about seven years ago. A wellness center where I was practicing hypnosis had a couple of the Samadhi sensory deprivation tanks (also known as isolation tanks) in the basement. I became curious about them and so I began floating in the tanks to see what it was like.  I had heard it was a type of meditation in water and quite a healing experience. Later, I would bring in hypnosis audio programs to listen to while I delved deep in the darkness resting my body by slightly submerging it in the 800-1,000 pounds of ebsom salt saturated water. I found it highly rewarding for not only feeling better emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well.

The Origins of Sensory Deprivation Therapy

In the 1950’s, scientists were experimenting in order to find out what would happen to a person when all environmental stimuli from the outside world disappeared. Dr. John Lilly is one of the most well-known of these scientists, along side Dr. Jay Shurley, that first created an isolation tank in 1954 at The National Institutes of Mental Health Lab in the Virgin Islands. They wanted to learn how people responded by eliminating contact with other people, light, gravity, sound, but yet heating the water to about 93 degrees Fahrenheit to remove the extremes in temperature.

They learned many important discoveries from these experiments. They found that when they removed all external sensations, that there was still a mechanism that generated internal experiences. A person’s mind does not go unconscious, but the brain is still active. It constructs experiences out of memories and stored impressions. If one does not fall asleep in an isolation tank, then there is a great opportunity to reprogram the mind for desired change-to consciously construct more positive thoughts and discard deeply held limiting beliefs. It is similar to being in a state of hypnosis as brain waves are slowing down to theta levels.

Yet, he also discovered that the mind fostered creativity while in the sensory deprivation tank, thus allowing people to present a problem when in the tank and retrieve answers quickly after coming out of submersion from the isolation tank. He goes into these discoveries in the book, The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank or Programming and Meta-programming in the Human Biocomputer: Theory and Experiments (if you are more scientifically inclined).

Since then, many others have studied the effects of floating in an isolation tank. John Turner and Tom Fine developed the more modern floatation R.E.S. T. technique, which stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. Michael Hutchison published a ground breaking book in 1984, The Book of Floating. I’ll outline some of this research and current findings later in this post. Dr. Oz even tried it and recommends it. There is a fantastic documentary made in 2014 called Float Nation that answers many questions people have about floating and gives more insights into float therapy. Recently, in November, Time magazine reported that the United States opened its first float clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma: the Float Clinic and Research at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.  This is a huge move in studying the science behind floating and its effect particularly, on neuroscience.

The Health Benefits to Floating in a Sensory Deprivation Tank

Floaters have reported numerous benefits floating. Depression lifts, anxiety  decreases. Whereas Dr. Lilly focused on the brain and the psychological aspects, there are many physical ones too. These include, a heightened state of relaxation from the deep rest your body undergoes and a release of dopamine and endorphins that go with this relaxed state. It’s the complete opposite of how you feel when your body tenses up from too much stress, adrenaline and cortisol buildup in your system! Consequently, relief from chronic pain often subsides after a few floats. A person can recover from jet lag quicker by floating after crossing time zones.  Athletes, artists and musicians float to enhance performance and relieve muscle pain and students find their memories improve and super learning occurs.

Most importantly, the metaphysical aspects are fascinating to note. I’ve often felt that I was “lost in space” as the weightlessness of floating makes me unaware of my body. On a recent session, I saw bright lights come and go in my mind’s eye and stars appeared on the ceiling inside the float tank. I had to ask afterwards whether they painted stars on the ceiling. “Nope. But, others have also mentioned seeing them,”a staff member at Float On responded. Hmm. Some mind expanding adventures here within this inner world. Many experts even believe that if more people took up floating, there would be less violent crimes committed. If there is a negative to floating, it would be a little salt getting in your eyes or it can sting if you have a scratch on your skin. However, you can dab some Vaseline on any scratches to prevent this from occurring.

How and Where to Float

sensory deprivation tank

Bird’s eye view of man floating in a sensory deprivation tank with lid open.

It’s really a simple, passive activity that just about anyone can partake in. You just need the physical mobility to get into a tank and lay down in salt water, which is so highly concentrated that you become very buoyant. Locate a local spa or sensory deprivation tank center to visit. If you are near or plan on visiting Portland, Oregon, you will find a few great options. We have the USA’s largest float tank center, Float On, (which is a colorful, creative and innovative place). Additionally, there are three different types of tanks at The Float Shoppe (whose owners are super friendly and generous.) I spoke with co-founder, Sandra Calm and she states that they have plans for an additional tank soon. There are two tanks at The Everett House Healing Center (where I stepped into my first tank), and Mudra Massage clinic has a tank as well. The combination of massage before or after floating is an added health benefit. Receive a massage before a float session if you desire mainly the psychological benefit, but if you’d rather focus on physical healing, float first and then get the massage after your muscles soften in the tank, stated Sandra from The Float Shoppe.

If you are a seasoned floater, did you know that a national float conference is held in August in Portland, Oregon each year? Come visit. Additionally, Portland Float Shoppe owner, Dylan Schmidt has started a podcast called The Art of Floating for people who want to open a float center and need support to keep it running smoothly.

How Much Does It Cost to Float?

It costs anywhere from $60 on up for a 90 minutes session (which is the least recommended at a time for best experience). You can sometimes find discounts for first time floats if you check Groupon or Living Social coupons in your area.  It can add up if you are not flush in the pocketbook, so I wanted to let you know about a new company that has created and built home tanks. Commercial ones begin at $8,000 and go on up, however the Zen Float company is manufacturing float tents for only $1,850 to give more people an affordable option.

Well, I hope this post is helpful in giving you an introduction to the fine art of floating in a sensory deprivation (reduction) tank. Give it time, you really need to partake in a few sessions to know what it’s really all about! Please feel free to share a comment below. I’d love to hear more about your experiences floating.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Works Cited

Bynum, Brad. “Altered States Is a Session in a Sensory Deprivation Tank as Surreal, Dangerous and Psychedelic as It Is in the Movies?” Www.newsreview.com. News Review, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <https://www.newsreview.com/reno/altered-states/content?oid=18187527>.

Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Hutchison, Michael. The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea. New York: Morrow, 1984. Print.
Oaklander, Mandy. “Behind the Strange New Science of Floating.” Time. Time, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Floated Naked in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. You’ve Got to Try It.” Anything Once. Slate.com, 15 May 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Slept All Night in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. Here Is My Story.” The Drift: A Blog About Sleep. Slate.com, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Unknown. “Float Science – The Float Shoppe.” Float Shoppe. The Float Shoppe, 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. <http://www.floatshoppe.com/floating/float-science/>.
Unknown. “Floating Overview – Float On.” Floating Overview. Float On Center, 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://floathq.com/learn/floating-overview/>.
Unknown. “More Information.” Samadhi Tank Co., Inc. First Manufacturer of the Floatation Tank ( Flotation Tank ), Sensory Deprivation Tank, Float Tank, John Lilly Isolation Tank. Samadhi Tank Co., Inc., 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://samadhitank.com/moreinfo.html>.
Williams, Brittany. “I Floated In A Sensory Deprivation Tank; Here’s What Happened – Healthcare Industry Today – EIN News.” The Grapevine, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://health.einnews.com/article/287759735/-O_E6uyT8FLJceRX>.

A Motivation Manifesto Review

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So, What Exactly is a Motivation

Motivation Manifesto Review

Buy the Ebook Now!

Manifesto?

By Jocelin Higgins

Good question! I will answer this question for you in this blog post and explain why it’s important to have one especially if you want to be more motivated for success in all areas of your life–whether it be professionally, emotionally, physically or spiritually. I will explain where I learned of this idea for action by reviewing the book,  The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard and how it can encourage you to feel better about your life.  I write this on Martin Luther King, Jr. day and dedicate it in his memory and to all the wonderful freedom fighters out there! BE FREE.

“We do not need more time; we need a stronger reason to act so that we use time more effectively. We do not need to await more resources; we need to act and we will find abundance comes to us.  We do not need to wait for perfect conditions; we will find perfection in progress. We do not need to ask in order to receive; we need to give in order to receive, for in giving we are given to.”  -The Motivation Manifesto

How I Discovered the Author:

I’ve been reading inspiring books by Brendon Burchard for a couple of years now after learning about him while scrolling through my Facebook feed. I teach reading classes to college students and so I chose to have them read and respond to the book, The Charge: Activating The Ten Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, which he wrote in 2012.  This book helps people live a more fully engaged life by activating ten vital human drives. I find it very reflective because he asks pertinent questions throughout called, Charge Points. My students love it and really experience growth in the process of reading and discussing the points addressed in this book.

So, of course I was excited to read and write a Motivation Manifesto review.  This book goes another step forward to teach readers about personal power and how to effectively claim that power to live our best lives. It’s written as a treatise in two sections by first opening up with a thoughtful understanding of our human nature: what is freedom? what is fear? what is motivation? These set the stage to describe why our fears and lack of motivation prevent us from finding our freedom in life.  In the second section, he lists nine important self declarations.

What I Learned from This Book:

As I was reading, I found myself saying, “oh, yes I can relate” quite often in agreement with what he was bringing forth. However, not everything applied to me as I found myself thinking, “this isn’t me” or “Why is he repeating himself by expanding a little too much on this thought? I get it.” But it definitely illuminated many areas in my life that I need to take more personal responsibility for and find better clarity in.

This book had an incredible launch and included a free online course as well as an invitation to write your own manifesto. I thought this was great and propelled me to understand myself better. Here are the three questions he gave us to do so:

Motivating Questions:

1) What will I no longer accept in my life?

2) What should life really be like for me?

3) What am I committed to making happen in order to create my ideal life?

The point of this exercise is to take a hard look at these and truly answer them honestly. We have so much more control over our lives than we think or have been programmed to believe. Self oppression from self-doubt or low self-esteem or internalizing what others have told us we cannot do should not force us to compromise on our happiness and contentment. Nor should it prevent us from dreaming and striving to meet them.

Why Have a Personal Manifesto?

Therefore, a personal manifesto can really allow you to create a life in which to be proud of and one where you can reach your full potential. Don’t we all want to reach our potential? I do. This book doesn’t sugar coat this journey though. Striving to better ourselves isn’t necessarily easy, he says. It requires us to face our demons and push through to the other side even if it takes much effort and persistence.

His Nine Declarations for Your Life to Be Incredible:

These nine declarations sure are a great start to a life filled with meaning and vitality. There is a chapter dedicated to explaining each one in more depth:

1) Meet Life with Full Presence and Power

2) Reclaim Your Agenda

3) Defeat Your Demons

4) Advance with Abandon

5) Practice Joy and Gratitude

6) Do Not Break Integrity

7) Amplify Love

8) Inspire Greatness

9) Slow Time

My Greatest Lesson from This Book:

Books have the capacity to really change our lives if we let them. I choose to read ones that inspire me and encourage me to grow. This is such an integral guidebook for doing so. It will make you analyze what you are doing or not doing in your life that is enacting a wall between you and your goals or dreams. It will teach you to challenge your previous beliefs and develop a new and improved mindset for accomplishment. It surely did this for me! I learned that I can have an expectation of success and continue moving toward being an accomplished writer, teacher and authentic and loving person.

“All motivation begins with ambition. Higher levels of clarity bring more ambition.” -Brendon Burchard

 Learn more about Brendon Burchard’s trainings.

I’d be interested in hearing how you are motivated in life toward success in any area of your life. How did you answer the above questions? Please leave a comment below and I promise to reply. Thank you for reading my Motivation Manifesto review! Namaste.

* I was given this ebook for free from its publisher by being a member of the Hay House Book Nook. Additionally, I purchased the hard back copy for a reduced price during its launch. I was not compensated for this review and it is my honest opinion, however it does contain links to buy the book and I do get a small commission that helps me support this site. I only promote products that I believe in. Are you a student? You can get free shipping through Amazon.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Light Boxes for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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How Do Light Boxes for Seasonal Affective Disorder Help with the Symptoms of SAD?

By Jocelin Higgins

First of all, you may have come here because a friend recommend you try a light box for seasonal affective disorder or perhaps you may have just been recently diagnosed with SAD, roughly ten percent of Americans suffer from it. SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes during winter months, or maybe someone close to you is in need of some light therapy. Whatever the case, I’ll give you some valuable information to take with you and help you to better understand what light therapy and light boxes do and how they help people during those darker, colder winter months.

Do you Find Yourself Getting Depressed from Lack of Sunlight During the Winter Months?

During the winter, especially in the northern part of the globe, the sun is replaced by dull grey clouds and doesn’t come out as often as it does in the summer. People can experience SAD in either season. The winter SAD symptoms in which light box therapy is very effective in counteracting include:

  • Weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially craving foods high in carbohydrates
  • Heavy, lead like feeling in the arms or legs
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with others
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection

This causes people to lack the necessary energy they need to function, to easily become more exhausted, depressed, or experience sleep disorders.  Sunshine also acts as a catalyst for you to maintain healthy melatonin, which can maintain effective sleep patterns and emotions as well as serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. These levels in your body become altered just by being in or viewing these warm rays of sunshine. This lack of sunlight can lead to people experiencing seasonal affective disorder, which isn’t actually a stand alone clinical disorder but a type of winter blues or depression. According to The Mayo Clinic, there are three ways to treat SAD: “SAD (treatment) may include light therapy (photo-therapy), psychotherapy and medication (prescriptions).”

In this Article, I’ll Focus on Photo-therapy (Light Therapy)

In light therapy, also known as photo-therapy, a person sits a few feet from a unique light therapy box in order to be exposed to this bright light without looking directly into it. From scientific research studies, as the light therapy box simulates natural outdoor light, it appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood and emotions. This allowing a person to feel better within a few short days or weeks.

Why Photo-Therapy is Such an Effective Treatment for S.A.D.

Light box therapy for seasonal affective disorder is one of the first recommended treatments by health professionals for fall season onset of SAD. Since it generally starts working in only a few days to two weeks and causes relatively few side effects, it appears to be quite effective for alleviating and relieving SAD symptoms for most people. Dr. Normal Rosenthal, a senior researcher at The National Institute of Mental Health supports the use of light boxes and describes his incredible findings in this book, Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder. A Twitter chat has been created by the NIMH for support as well. Use the hashtag  #NIMHchats to learn more.

However, before you decide on and purchase a light therapy box, do some research and talk with your doctor to decide which one would work best for you. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the variety of features and options so that you buy a high-quality product that’s safe and effective in helping you. Try to get a full spectrum light box and one with blue light as these show better results than just the white light ones.

My Recommendations of Light Boxes for Seasonal Affective Disorder

To assist you with your search, I have some reviews here and my recommendations of ones that I’ve used and that work really well for me. I have two different size light boxes for seasonal affective disorder–one for my desk top and one that sits on the top of our bookshelf and lights up the living room. I have never been clinically diagnosed with SAD, but was given a light box as a gift and found that it really indeed helped me to feel better.

Light boxes for Seasonal Affective Disorder, how to fight depression

The Portable Sunlight Machine (SUN 365) by Zadro, Inc.

This is my desk top light box on the left here. I stand it up right next to my laptop when I’m typing so that I’m able to experience the brightness and stay motivated while I work as well as benefit from its rejuvenating light therapy. It’s called The Portable Sunlight Machine model Sun365, made by Zadro Inc. It emits a calming neon blue light that is adjustable in brightness. It’s great for traveling as it’s about three inches in height and one and a half inches in width. It comes with a carrying pouch, and a wall plugin power source.  It can be set to a very bright light or dimmed down accordingly. A drawback is that it doesn’t dim down extremely low, but then again, that is part of its purpose–to shine like the sun! It also comes with a timer, so you can set it to turn on or off at certain times.

Light Boxes for Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression help.

The Verilux Happy Light on a desktop.

The second one that I have is a larger model made by Verilux and it’s called Happy Light.   Since it has a greater amount of surface area, it is better at lighting up wider space. The light is more diffused and has a broader reach than the smaller desktop one above. This light box is ideal for a permanent desk or placement as a room add on. It isn’t portable like The Portable Sunlight Machine model Sun365, made by Zadro Inc. However, it isn’t as bright either. The light is still blue, but it is a mellower, lighter blue.  I find it calms me more than energizes me. That is why I use the smaller desktop one to keep me focused on work and this Verilux Happy Light on top of a bookshelf in the living room for general relaxation and mood enhancement. It’s usually on while other lamps are on and so it adds to the overall lighting effect and is hardly noticeable.

Lastly, I hope these recommendations assist you in finding the right light box for seasonal affective disorder or just to improve your mood and help in dealing with depression.  I encourage you to share your comments and insights below.  Do you have a specific light box that you really like and works great? If so, please share it with us! I wish for you a winter of feeling better with the use of light therapy and fully enjoying your new year! Take good care my friend.

References: 

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Definition.” Mayo Clinic – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2015.

Unknown. “NIMH Twitter Chat on Seasonal Affective Disorder.” NIMH RSS. The National Institute of Mental Health, 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 03 Jan. 2015.

Unknown. “Verilux HappyLight Deluxe Light Therapy Lamp for Winter Blues.” Verilux HappyLight Deluxe Light Therapy Lamp for Winter Blues. Verilux Inc., 2015. Web. 03 Jan. 2015.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

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